Tag Archives: chocolate

Eat, Don’t Eat

Do you know what really, really annoys me about Christmas time?  We’re encouraged to fill our faces, over-indulge, drink too much, inhale whole tins of Roses and slump on the sofa all day long. Which is lovely. I don’t need an excuse at all. But isn’t it so annoying to pick up the newspaper on Boxing Day only be told off for our over-excess and shouldn’t we think about dieting? Make your mind up.

I am loving this week before the Big Day. My social diary is full, I’m catching up with my long-neglected friends and the usual timetable is suspended. There’s expectation in the air. We’ve reached the fag-end of the year and it’s time to reflect and move forward, fueled by chocolate and mince pies. Come the weekend, it will be totally acceptable to have a glass or two of mulled wine in the afternoon, and if I feel like dropping off in front of the telly, I can. Then I’ll pour myself a Bailey’s  – only at Christmas – and decide what else to stuff my face with.

Boxing Day will bring me back to earth with a thud. Magazines and newspapers flood into the newsagents, full of diets, rebukes and remorse. My local gym will hang banners up chiding me for my gluttony, offering me a free towel if I’m one of the first 50 to sign up for membership. Can’t we just enjoy a week or two of sheer indulgence without the shame afterwards?

It’s exactly the same every year. It’s just like the holiday adverts that pop up on telly. We’re deep in the middle of Christmas, we don’t want to be thinking about booking our next holiday. We’re praying for a little bit of snow. Can’t you wait until mid-January? Christmas isn’t over yet. I just want a chance to relax and enjoy myself.

I still haven’t lost the weight I put on with the steroids I took for three different MS relapses, so give me a break. If I want to buy a Family Circle box of biscuits and eat them all by myself while watching The Sound of Music for the 27th time, I will. I can blame MS. It’s a great excuse.


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A Friend Comes to the Rescue

The Teenager was away for the weekend and after the week I had just been through, I would have been quite happy to have locked my front door, closed the curtains and set up a standing order with Domino’s.

One of my good friends had different ideas though. He scooped me up on Friday night and delivered me back on Sunday afternoon, rested, all talked out and ready to take on a fresh week. On Friday, he had booked tickets for a live comedy show. We turned up, got settled with wine to break my catatonia and waited for the crowd in the bar to pick up. It didn’t. We checked. There were over a hundred seats in the venue and only 29 tickets sold.

I just couldn’t watch a comedian die on stage, so we decided to go drinking instead. Excellent plan. On Saturday he bundled me into his car and took me back to his place where I lay sprawled on the sofa all evening, watching ‘One Day’ again and putting away chocolate at an alarming rate. Finally, on Sunday, he booked us in to see ‘Skyfall’ in the Gallery at the local Odeon, where we scoffed tortilla chips, Quality Street and popcorn before we even sat down to watch the film. Nothing like a Bond film to put things in perspective.

Friends are great, aren’t they? He listened while I ranted and raved and swore far too much. He calmly put some excellent points forward and gave me an A3 pad so I could write down everything that had happened, in proper, chronological order. So the weekend ended on a high. I kind of know where I am now, compared to the mess I was in on Friday. I don’t feel so alone.

As an added bonus, I don’t have to go to The Office of Doom any more, so I didn’t have that awful Sunday night feeling. Every cloud…


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Oh, So I’m Ill Then?

An odd thing happened to me at my latest blood test (apart from being compelled to buy chocolate…). I have blood tests every month, so no news there. But this time, I had a new nurse.

She must have been reading my notes before she called me, as she came through to the waiting room, gently tapped me on the shoulder and gestured for me to follow.

Puzzled, I put away my book and went with her. In her room, she pulled out a chair and almost helped me to sit down. I was starting to get a bit worried. Did she know something I didn’t?

She sat down, clicked through her computer screen, then turned to me with big, sad eyes and said, ‘you poor, poor thing. You’re what (looking back to screen), only ten years younger than me, but you’re so, so brave, so strong’. Huh? ‘Oh, we don’t see many people with MS here’. She asked me how I was coping with the diagnosis, what my fears for the future were and whether I had to make any…adjustments. Wheelchairs, catheters and walking sticks flashed through my mind, none of which I need. Yet?

This got me thinking. I’ve been through a horrendous year and the diagnostic process isn’t easy. There’s no single test, there’s a set of criteria you have to tick before you move from a ‘single’ attack to ‘multiple’ sclerosis. It’s incredible what you can come to think of as your new normals and you just shift your life around them. I think I’m doing pretty well and I don’t live my life as an MS victim/sufferer, I just happen to have MS. But things like this pull you up short, and the fear rises again. I really am ill?

Finally, she took my blood pressure. ‘Mm, it’s awfully high. Are you anxious about anything?’ Not before I came in here, I wasn’t….

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Chocolate, *sigh*

A friend has just told me it is National Chocolate Week this week. Regular readers will be familiar with my chocolate trials and tribulations, but who am I to turn down any  reason to celebrate the wonders of the humble cocoa bean? It is obviously my duty (and honour!) to take part.

To mark this sublime event, I hovered for far too long in front of the chocolate display at my local supermarket yesterday. I had just been for my monthly blood check and was in need of a little treat to cheer myself up. I trundled out the old MS excuse to myself, ‘hey, I deserve it, I’ve got MS’. This can work on pretty much anything – another glass of wine, extra helping of roast potatoes, another hour on the sofa.

So there I am, moving swiftly past the Christmas displays, the huge boxes of Thorntons (I’m not that greedy), on to the single chocolate bars. Furtively, I snatch a family-sized Dairy Milk, shoving it under my healthy yoghurts, fruit and low-fat cheese. At the check-out, I tut, saying ‘kids, eh?’ as the chocolate is swiped through, neatly blaming the chocolate on The Teenager. Result!

Gwyneth Paltrow once said in an interview that she stops herself having junk food by eating naked, in front of a mirror. Ha! The biggest mirror I have is in my hallway, I have a glass front door and I don’t think my postman would appreciate the view. I prefer the Fridge Plan. Put your chosen contraband in the coldest part of the fridge. This makes it much harder to scoff in one go. Clever. Plus, whenever I open the fridge door, The Teenager miraculously appears next to me, peering over my shoulder and I have to hastily hide it behind the ketchup again.

But I know it is there, and I know I will very, very quietly rescue it, silently open it, and sink into chocolate oblivion. Again. *Sigh*.


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Chocolate dreams

Chocolate haunts me. Last night a giant Jaffa Cake chased me down the road. When I woke up, I could almost taste it. I adore chocolate and it worships me in return. So much so that it hangs around my thighs, stubbornly clinging on for dear life . I know we need to go our separate ways, but it’s a really comforting friend to have around. Always available, cheap and comes in endless varieties.

Multiple sclerosis has given me a great excuse – when the worst has already happened, who cares if you treat yourself now and again? So many other things seem more important than whether I am knocking back the chocolate buttons by the bucket-load. Just had an excruciating lumbar puncture? Have a family-sized Galaxy bar. Fallen flat on your face in a packed restaurant? Order a profiterole surprise to share then grab both forks.

In a desperate bid to curb my cravings, I came up with a cunning plan. Advent calendars are on sale now. What if I were to buy one and only pop open two windows a day? Plus, I’ll get some early Christmassy vibes going. I reached Christmas Eve that same night and put the pillaged calendar out for recycling. Ok, Plan B. Eat no chocolate all week, then have a blow-out on Friday. I was cured! I ate so much of the stuff, I vowed never to eat it again, until I woke up on Saturday, noticed there were still a few Maltesers left in the packet, and I was lost in a chocolate haze once more.

I know, I could keep on trundling out the old MS excuse for ever, but where do I draw the line? I don’t want to give in just because I have MS. Perhaps because I have MS I should look after myself more, not less.

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